Nigel Paul Farage ( /ˈfærɑːʒ/, FARR-ahzh; born 3 April 1964), is a British politician and the Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) since 2010; he also held that position from September 2006 to November 2009. Since 1999, he has been a Member of the European Parliament for South East England; he also co-chairs the Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy group.
Farage is a founding member of the UKIP, having left the Conservative Party in 1992 after they signed the Maastricht Treaty. Having unsuccessfully campaigned in European and Westminster parliamentary elections for UKIP since 1994, he gained a seat as an MEP for South East England in the 1999 European Parliament Election — the first year the regional list system was used — and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009. Farage describes himself as a libertarian and rejects the notion that he is a conservative.
In September 2006, Farage became the UKIP Leader and led the party through the 2009 European Parliament Election in which it received the second highest share of the popular vote, defeating Labour and the Liberal Democrats with over two million votes. However he stepped down in November 2009 to concentrate on contesting the Speaker John Bercow's seat of Buckingham in the 2010 general election.
At the 2010 General Election, Farage failed to unseat John Bercow and received only the third highest share of the vote in the constituency. Shortly after the polls opened on 6 May 2010, Nigel Farage was injured in an aircraft crash in Northamptonshire. The two-seated PZL-104 Wilga 35A had been towing a pro-UKIP banner when it flipped over and crashed shortly after takeoff. Both Farage and the pilot were hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries.
In November 2010, Farage successfully stood in the 2010 UKIP leadership contest, following the resignation of its leader, Lord Pearson of Rannoch. Farage was also ranked 41st in The Daily Telegraph's Top 100 most influential right-wingers poll in October 2009, citing his media savvy and his success with UKIP in the European Elections. Farage was ranked 58th in the 2010 list compiled by Iain Dale and Brian Brivati for the Daily Telegraph.
Farage has been noted for his passionate and sometimes controversial speeches in the European Parliament.
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